Sarah Burke's mom disappointed by Olympic sticker ban
International Olympic Committee bans 'political statements' and stickers in late athlete's honour
The mother of a Canadian skier who died two years ago said she is disappointed by the International Olympic Committees' decision to ban athletes from wearing stickers in her daughter's honour.
Sarah Burke, who was a resident of Squamish, B.C., pioneered freestyle skiing and successfully fought for the sport to be included in the Winter Olympics Games. She was a favourite to win gold this year in Sochi, but she died in 2012 following a training accident on a half-pipe in Park City, Utah.
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Since then, Burke's friends and fellow skiers have competed with stickers in her memory plastered to their gear. On Monday, however, the IOC said it doesn't allow "political statements" at the Games and therefore the stickers must go.
"The competitions themselves, which are a place of celebration, are probably not the right place or are not the right place, in our opinion, to really do that," said IOC spokesperson Mark Adams.
Burke's mother, Jan Phelan, said she understands the IOC needs to enforce its rules "across the board," but that this case is a "little unusual."
"I think all the kids are just really wanting to honour Sarah and thank her and remember her for all the work she did to get their sport into the Olympics," said Phelan at her home in Squamish, B.C.
"There's a very good chance that skiing the half-pipe would not be in the Olympics if it weren't for Sarah, and she did give her life to it."
The IOC suggested Burkes' colleagues hold a news conference or a ceremony at the multi-faith centre in Sochi's Olympic Village.
In the meantime, Burke's friends have been turning to social media to honour their fallen colleague.
"I ride with a Sarah sticker on my snowboard and helmet always. The IOC however, consider Sarah stickers 'a political statement' and have banned them. WOW. Sarah is a beautiful, talented, powerful women, who's spirit inspires me still," wrote Australian Olympic gold medal snowboarder Torah Bright on Instagram.
Phelan is heading to Sochi this week — with Sarah Burke stickers — to watch the women's half-pipe event. She said watching the competition will be difficult, but bitter sweet.
"I'm very excited and very pleased this is Sarah's legacy, and I'm very proud of my daughter. And then, on the other hand, I really wish she would have been there too."
The women's half-pipe event is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. PT.
With files from CBC's Belle Puri